THC vs. CBD
Many misconceptions against cannabidiol exists. Therefore, it must be clearly stated here that the consumption of hemp should not be equated with the drug, the psychoactive substance THC. We would like to show here that although the structures of the two substances are similar, the effects on the human body are different.
Like CBD, THC is also found in the female flowers of the hemp plant. After ingestion of THC and after binding to the two receptors, there is often pain relief as well as inhibition of inflammatory processes. However, THC not only produces these desired effects, but also shows strong side effects that can vary in intensity from person to person.
Since the CB1 receptor is more abundant in the brain, after THC binds to these receptors, muscle relaxation, appetite increase, blood pressure decrease, heart rate increase, euphoria, anxiety, motor impairments, reduced attention and so on can occur. Some people become very euphoric, others have strong feeling of anxiety, and still others are deeply relaxed.
In contrast, inflammatory processes and allergic reactions are reduced when THC activates the CB2 receptors located on the cells of the immune system. The activation leads to reduced prodution of cytokines, pro-inflammatory messengers, resulting in the above mentioned effects.
The effect of CBD, the non-psychoactive counterpart of THC, is far more complex than that of THC. There are already various studies on the effect of CBD, also in association with different disease patterns, but not everything is yet fully researched, so various mechanisms still need to be studied in more detail.
Nevertheless, it can be said that the effects on the body are similar to those of THC. However, CBD is able to reduce the strong undesirable side effects of THC. For example, certain studies have described that the strong anxiety of people after taking THC is greatly weakened if CBD was taken.
The result of the binding to various receptors in the human body and how the quality of life can be improved by taking CBD is described in the literature. Some of them are shown below:
Due to the binding of CBD to the "Nucleoside transporter-1", the producton of neurotransmitters (such as acetylcholine and norepinephrine) is inhibited. This happened via the signal transduction pathway of adenosine. CBD enhances exactly this signaling pathway. This process could be the reason for an anti-inflammatory effect.
As it is described in a study, even small doses of CBD inhibit the production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), a messenger substance that promotes inflammation.
Another cannabinoid receptor, the GPR55 receptor, is responsible for an anti-inflammatory effect after CBD binding.
As it was mentioned above, CBD binds to the CB1-receptor as well. Because of this binding, CBD inhibits part of the effect of THC due to a so-called allosteric modulation at the CB1-receptor. This means that both substances can bind simultaneously to this receptor, but at different sites.
However, a certain activation of the CB1-receptor is also achieved by CBD, so it can lead to stress relief. By binding to the vannilliod receptor, a same effect is demonstrated.
In addition to binding to the CB1-receptor and the associated effect on psychological symptoms, CBD also binds to the 5-HT1A receptor, which result in an anxiety-relieving effect.
The protein, which in turn is responsible for the degradation of the endogenous cannabinoid anandamide, is destroyed by CBD. This leads to the increased concentration of this endocannabinoid which in turn has various influences on the body. For example, endocannabinoids bind strongly to the CB2-receptors on the immune cells, which in turn leads to anti-inflammatory effects.
Furthermore, studies have shown that CBD has a positive effect on both Alzheimer's and Parkinsons disease.
A binding of CBD on the dopamine-2-receptor shows a positive effect against psychosis.
Last but not least, CBD is a very valuable antioxidant, which is just as good as ascorbic acid, also know as vitamine C.